Victoria
Suite 12 - 2544 Dunlevy St.
Victoria, BC  V8R 5Z2
Tel: (250) 480-7481
Vancouver
#200 - 736 Granville St.
Vancouver, BC  V6Z 1G3
Tel: (604) 684-9221
NITYA IYER, QC - PARTNER
CONTACT DETAILS
#200 - 736 Granville St.
Vancouver, BC
V6Z 1G3
Tel:
Fax:
Email:
(604) 684-9221
(250) 480-7455
ni@lw-law.ca

Areas of Expertise

BAR MEMBERSHIP

  • Ontario 1988-2007
  • British Columbia, 1994
  • Yukon, 2010

EDUCATION

  • LL.M., Harvard University, 1989
  • LL.B., University of Toronto, 1986
  • B.A., University of Toronto, 1983

Nitya Iyer, QC

Nitya Iyer joined Lovett Westmacott in 2011, after practicing with Heenan Blaikie for ten years. Prior to that, she was an associate professor at the University of British Columbia after starting her academic career on the Law Faculty of the University of Toronto in 1990. In 1986, she clerked for the Honourable Gerald E. Le Dain of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Nitya was a full-time member of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal from 1997 to 2000. In 2001, she was appointed by the BC government as a one-person task force to study the merits of private sector pay equity legislation for BC. She has been the Equal Pay Commissioner of the Northwest Territories since 2004. Nitya is also independent legal counsel to the Yukon Human Rights Panel of Adjudicators.

Nitya practices in the fields of administrative and constitutional law, with special expertise in human rights, freedom of information and protection of privacy, and professional regulation. She represents individuals appearing before administrative tribunals and provides policy advice to governments, and independent legal advice to administrative bodies. She has appeared before all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

Nitya also acts as in a neutral capacity. She investigates and assists in the informal resolution of a variety of workplace complaints under internal discrimination, harassment and whistleblower policies for public and private sector organizations. She co-authored Implementing Inclusion: A Consultation on Organizational Change to support UBC's Commitments to Equity and Diversity in 2013 and the Report of the Task Force on Misogyny, Sexism and Homophobia in the Dalhousie University Faculty of Dentistry in 2015. For the past fifteen years, she has provided group training and individual support to administrative decision-makers in writing clear and compelling decisions, consistent with the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness.

Nitya has written extensively on human rights and equality. She was awarded the Marion Porter Prize for her article entitled Disappearing Women: Racial Minority Women in Human Rights Cases. She sat on the Board of Directors of the Bloom Group, which provides shelter and support services in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, and the Canadian Human Rights Reporter. She also sat on the Board of the West Coast Women's Legal Education and Action Fund for many years, and has acted as pro bono counsel to the organization in numerous cases. Nitya also served on the board of the Elizabeth Bagshaw Women's Clinic, and has volunteered for a number of other non-profit organizations.

In 2010, Nitya was named by the Vancouver Sun as one of BC's "100 Women of Influence." In 2012, she was awarded a Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her volunteer work.

SELECTED COUNSEL WORK

  • BC Government and Service Employees' Union v. BC (Public Service Employer Relations Commission), 2005 BCCA 129 [policy setting a 6-month time limit on search for alternative positions for employees who cannot return to their own jobs due to disability does not discriminate based on disability]
  • Inglis v. British Columbia (Minister of Public Safety), 2013 BCSC 2309 [s. 15(1) Charter challenge to cancellation of mother-baby program at a provincial correctional facility)
  • Insurance Corporation of British Columbia v. Automotive Retailers Assn, 2013 BCSC 2025 [judicial review on administrative and constitutional law grounds, of decision of Information and Privacy Commissioner]
  • Information & Privacy Commissioner v. Alberta Teachers Association, SCC 2011 61 [jurisdictional issue; effect of Commissioner's non-compliance with statutory time limits]
  • Workers' Compensation Board (BC) v. Figliola, SCC 2011 52 [jurisdiction of BC Human Rights Tribunal to review whether Board's decision that its chronic pain policy is not discriminatory].
  • Rick v. Brandsema, 2009 SCC 10 [failure of a spouse to fully disclose all financial information can result in separation agreement being set aside]
  • Health Services and Support - Facilities Subsector Bargaining Association v. BC, 2007 SCC 27 [Charter challenge to legislation setting aside collective agreement; duty to bargain in good faith recognized as part of s. 2(d); no violation of s. 15]
  • R. v. Watson, 2008 BCCA 340 [legislation restricting protest outside abortion services facilities upheld under Charter: violation of freedom of expression is justified].
  • Alberta (Human Rights and Citizenship Commission) v. Kellogg Brown & Root, 2007 ABCA 426 [pre-employment drug-testing policy does not discriminate against non-addicted drug users on the basis of perceived disability]
  • BC Civil Liberties Association v. University of Victoria, 2016 BCCA judgment pending [claim that Charter applies and expressive rights violated when university decided not to allow a student club to book space for an event on campus]
  • Scott v. College of Massage Therapists, 2016 BCCA judgment pending [when a health college can take extraordinary action to protect the public during the investigation of a registrant, in this case for sexual touching]
  • Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users v. BC Human Rights Tribunal,2015 BCSC 534 [challenge to Tribunal's finding that a program to moving the street homeless out of public spaces in the downtown core was not discrimination under the Human Rights Code]

SELECTED REPORTS + PUBLICATIONS

  • Implementing Inclusion: A Consultation on Organizational Change to Support UBC's Commitments to Equity and Diversity (2013) University of British Columbia (with S. Nakata)
  • "What's Wrong about Discrimination? A Comment on 'Conceptual Challenges in the Application of Meiorin' by Stan Lanyon Q.C", (2013) Continuing Legal Education BC
  • "Barriers to Access to Justice", (2009) Chapter 22 Canadian Legal Practice, Lexis Nexis Canada (with R. Gauthier)
  • "Disadvantaged Unions: The Merging of Sections 2(d) and 15(1) of the Charter", (2005) 12(1) Cdn. Labour and Employment J. 1
  • Working Through the Wage Gap, Report of the BC Task Force on Pay Equity, February 2001
  • "Disappearing Women: Racial Minority Women in Human Rights Cases" (1993), 6 Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 25-51; (awarded Marion Porter Prize, Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women)
  • Report of the Task Force on Misogyny, Sexism and Homophobia in Dalhousie University Faculty of Dentistry(2015) Dalhousie University (with C. Backhouse (chair) and D. McRae)

SELECTED DECISIONS

  • Order P11-02, Economical Mutual Insurance Company, 2011 BCIPC No. 16
  • Canadian Jewish Congress v. North Shore Free Press [1997] BCHRTD No. 23